Confirmations 101

jointsessioninCongressSenate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and co. have hit the ground running in the new year. This week, they’re working to pack in as many of Trump’s cabinet nominees’ confirmation hearings as possible. Like many congressional procedures, the cabinet confirmation process is not totally clear. And unlike many congressional proceedings there isn’t a Schoolhouse Rock video explaining the confirmation process. So we’ve been forced to take this explanation on ourselves.

Here’s what you need to know:

All cabinet-level officials, as well as hundreds of other agency heads and senior positions, require senate confirmation. The first step of the confirmation process is the vetting and disclosure process, which the vast majority of Trump’s nominees have not completed. Then, the nominee is given to the Senate committee with jurisdiction over the appointed position, the Senate Judiciary committee, for example, oversees the Attorney General. Full list of committee jurisdictions here. That committee then can hold hearings (happening this week) and either vote to move the nominee to the Senate floor for a full vote or refuse to do so, killing the nomination. The committee can report the nomination favorably, unfavorably, or without recommendation to the rest of the Senate. Once a nomination gets out of the committee, it goes to a full Senate vote, where it needs a simple majority vote.